Tag Archives: Missionaries of Mercy

Two thumbs down: “The Confession” – otherwise voted Best Short Film of International Catholic Film Festival

Begin rant: /// Cold as ice. Torture chamber. Shouldn’t force the guy to turn himself in or speak to the family. The priest is not a police officer. He’s not a shrink. He should have found out what “accident” meant, yes, but no more than that. The guy was guilty for getting drunk, for driving drunk, for the evil he committed while driving drunk, for hitting the guy, for running away and leaving him for dead. The priest should have given him a penance that he knew he could do regarding his resources (very often a really bad idea as people are vulnerable at that time and will say they can do something when they can’t) and his time left to live and his health capabilities (probably he was ready to die in very short order as he was hemorrhaging right there). The priest should have anointed him for that matter.

It’s not ever about the priest, ever. Period. It’s about Jesus. About Jesus’ mercy. Wow, he is totally lacking in his formation. He shouldn’t be working out his own problems, however far reaching, with his penitents. Would I have compassion on the priest if he came to confession to me? Sure. Great. But appraising this B.S.? Well, it’s B.S.

People think that compassion is telling people that there is no sin, that there is no forgiveness for sin if it’s a real sin, so just tell people that their sins are not sins and so don’t ask forgiveness or be forgiven for those sins. Is human niceness better than God’s forgiveness? No. That guy was actually guilty of a hit and run which could certainly could have killed someone, and that’s also a sin even if later he thinks that the guy didn’t die (though he did). That doesn’t make it any less serious. If you fully intend to kill someone but they somehow live you’re still guilty of murder before God for having made the attempt. Make the analogy with lust, as Jesus says that a man who lusts after a woman in his heart is as guilty as the one who actually goes after the woman.

The message of the film is that you really can’t be forgiven for real sin. This is the absolute worst message that could be given. What? Jesus really didn’t die to forgive our sins? His death, His standing in our place to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us is just a damned lie? Really? That’s the message we should give? No.

There is so much wrong with this whole film. You can let people know that something is a sin and that they did sin in a big way, but let them know the completeness of God’s forgiveness. That’s what’s healing. Not psycho-counseling. It’s all about Jesus’ love, and Jesus’ love is something, someOne in which, in Whom we can rejoice. Really. This isn’t hard. But it seems no one knows about true mercy. True mercy involves Jesus. Does anyone know Jesus anymore? Is it all just a mind game?

Also, now that I’m ranting, I hate the attitude he has with the woman, laughing to himself at her. What a jerk he is. Does no one see what a proper reprimand should be that brings people to rejoice in the love that our Lord has for us? /// O.K. End of rant.

So, why the rant? Because I’ve met so many priests just like this, those who play mind games and make their emotions into prayer but no more than emotions. They can rationalize anything. It’s horrific to watch them and what happens to their parishes. Ships without rudders. Blown by the winds. Aimless. No identity.

8 Comments

Filed under Confession, Missionaries of Mercy

(1) Missionaries of Mercy reconfirmed: New list of faculties…

pope francis confession

The decree itself is spectacularly elegant with raised seal and all. The accompanying letter lists the particular sins reserved to the Holy See but which may be absolved by the Missionary of Mercy. These differ slightly but importantly from the original list.

Here’s the original list:

  1. profaning the Eucharistic species by taking them away or keeping them for a sacrilegious purpose;
  2. use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff;
  3. absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue;
  4. a direct violation against the sacramental seal by a confessor.

The second list, valid now and into the future indefinitely is as follows. It repeats more or less verbatim the list of four, but then adds a fifth, expanding on the fourth:

  1. Profanation of the Eucharistic species by taking them away or keeping them for a sacrilegious purpose.
  2. Use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff.
  3. Absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment.
  4. Direct violation against the sacramental seal by a confessor.
  5. [1] The recording by means of a technical device of what the priest or the penitent says in a Sacramental Confession (whether real or simulated), or [2] the divulgation of such a recording through the means of social communication. (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Decretum de sacramenti Paenitentiae dignitate tuenda, 23 September 1988 (AAS 80 [1988] 1367).

This last, new addition, is double-barreled. The conjunction “or” is rather significant. The mere recording without any divulgation is already enough to commit a sin reserved to the Holy See for absolution (and now the Missionaries of Mercy). A person who comes across such a recording but did not make it, but does make the divulgation is also committing a sin reserved for absolution to the Holy See or to a Missionary of Mercy. Of course, these two actions usually go hand in hand, committing the first so as to commit the second. Thus:

I could easily see a bitter Catholic media personality with an ax to grind against the Church going to real Sacramental Confession and confessing real sins which everyone knows about but which are considered and proclaimed to the whole world not to be sins by the impenitent “penitent” journalist, so that he is just baiting the priest to say whatever, so that he, the journalist, has something to rant about on the radio or on television or in the newspapers or internet, using the confession, whatever direction it goes, as fodder making the Church the butt of jokes during the morning commute. This is actually a problem in France, where such nauseating cowardice is a national pass time. Of course, the sins need not be real to incur the wrath of God and the need for absolution lest one risk going straight to hell. Fake sins don’t make the mockery any less incisive.

But what of the case of someone who is just a bit slow in understanding, and makes a real recording of a real confession to a priest who is his hero as that priest has helped him so very much, making the recording for his poor memory and only for his own edification, not divulging it? Take that same recording of that same person and say that he then put it up online because he wants to share his joy with the world for the edification of all? Actually, he needs to confession for the first and then also the second if he does that too.

And then what about the person who fakes like he has a recording of what was, in fact, a Sacramental Confession? He lies about it, saying that he has a real recording, and makes up content, using it for blackmail and extortion. That’s falls under this rubric as well. I can see it now, lawyers and accusers looking for easy settlements from bishops who just might throw money at anyone and everyone who says that they don’t like the advice they got in confession. The bishop or anyone connected with him cannot ask to hear the recording and so don’t know if it’s real or not. The priest can’t defend himself in any way. It would never make it to court, but this would basically re-bankrupt the Church, with the lawyers and accusers saying that the church is mocking the victims by excommunicating them with their evidence, bullying them. They would then get settlement money, you know, to make it go away even while priests are once again thrown out of ministry for life.

2 Comments

Filed under Confession, Missionaries of Mercy

Zed for TSW

Fr Zuhlsdorf has a good intro at WDTPRS to Fr Gordon MacRae’s latest at TheseStoneWalls:

Recommended online reading at “These Stone Walls”

Please run, don’t walk, to These Stone Walls, the blog of Fr. Gordon MacRae, unjustly jailed and innocent of crimes against minors.

1 Comment

Filed under Missionaries of Mercy

“Once upon a time” – drugs & druggies

fairy tales

Starting off with “Once upon a time” means that it’s just a fairy tale. We all know that fairy tales only happen in fairy tale land in a time warp not belonging to our own. So, having said that:

Once upon a time a priest saw that the drug trafficking in the rural territory of his tiniest of all parishes was once upon a time skyrocketing. He knew that it wasn’t his responsibility to do anything about the drug problem other than to lead people to Jesus. He knew that others had a more direct pragmatic responsibility. But in that regard, there was once upon a time that he had to wonder about all the once upon a time incidents that were taking place once upon a time in fairy tale land:

  • Once upon a time not quite a couple dozen kids, many of them minors, all tripping out on cocaine, were under the supervision of a certain person in that certain person’s house, and the whole lot of them were caught. That particular person was transported nicely for questioning, at the end of which, within I think two hours, said person was let go. That’s it. Never happened. Once upon a time.
  • Once upon a time a certain person was caught with perhaps less than 150 kg of cocaine, or even more[!], but then enjoyed the “fact” that it never happened. That’s it. In my once upon a time opinion a thin red line was crossed with that one, you know, once upon a time.
  • Once upon a time it was made made known in fairy tale land that budget constraints (there are so many budgets in so many regions in fairy tale land) meant that there is no way that known once upon a time drug houses would ever be closed down, because, at any rate, such things all belong in the category of once upon a time.
  • Once upon a time, certain persons began to act as if they were above the law, thinking that they could get out of anything at any time for whatever reason, you know, things like recklessly endangering the lives of others, you know, once upon a time.

Backing out of fairy tale land, said priest, having a secret time-machine by which he travels back to reality (the Heart of Jesus) which uses a secret time-warp (the Hour in which Jesus draws all to Himself as He redeems us upon the Cross), said priest, I say, wonders again what to do about all this, and concludes that he should involve the very once upon a time perps in real evangelization of the once upon a time criminals. I have to wonder about that priest. Sounds like he’s a real donkey of a priest. Surely imprudent. It probably won’t work. But it reminds me of Jesus, who called twelve Apostles, all of whom, like all of us, crucified the Son of the Living God with their sin, original sin and their own, Jesus thus using the very criminals to evangelize. Hmmm. It still sounds imprudent to me. And all the Apostles ran away just at the time all the criminals were being helped out the most. It must be a fairy tale, once upon a time.

6 Comments

Filed under Drugs, Missionaries of Mercy

O.K., those are words, now for actions!

The editor of our Catholic Newspaper sent this note to myself and my fellow Missionary of Mercy in the Diocese of Charlotte:

Fathers, your work with us for the Year of Mercy was recognized with a first-place award from the Catholic Press Association for Best Coverage of the Year of Mercy, among all large diocesan newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. Thank you for your contributions that helped our print and online audiences go deeper into Church teaching for the jubilee year!

5 Comments

Filed under Missionaries of Mercy

Amoris laetitia officially published in Latin in Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS) – Still a dialogue, not any kind of teaching

From paragraph 4:

Quapropter aequum iudicavimus Adhortationem apostolicam post-synodalem conscribere,quae sententias colligeret duarum proximarum de familia Synodorum, aliis additis considerationibus quae cogitationes, dialogum vel pastoralem actionem dirigere, et eadem opera animum erigere, concitare familiasque iuvare earum in muneribus ac difficultatibus possint.

Since it is all as ambiguous as ever and I have absolutely no idea what it means in the least, I will continue to adhere to Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the authentic interventions of the Magisterium of the Church throughout the centuries, such as we find in the Sacred Council of Trent. Period.

And that’s all the thought I’ll give to this. As it is, I’m late for my “day-off” and much, much more important things than unhelpful confusion. To those who are upset with mere vacuousness, listen up:

  • We know the absolutely clear teaching of Jesus, who is God.
  • We know the absolutely clear teaching of Sacred Scripture, both old and new Testaments.
  • We know the absolutely clear teaching of Sacred Tradition spoken to us by the Holy Spirit and to which we listen as if it were given to us by hand (quasi per manus as the Council of Trent put it in its first dogmatic decree of April 8, 1546).
  • We know the absolutely clear teaching of the authentic interventions of the Magisterium of the Church, including, for instance, Pius XI, Pius XII, Paul VI, John Paul II, and the great Councils throughout the history of the Church.

At the judgment, we won’t be able to blame anyone’s “dialogue” for our moral failure if we go ahead and use “dialogue” as an excuse to reject Jesus, Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium. Period.

1 Comment

Filed under Amoris laetitia, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Excommunication of Mafia by secular courts? What’s this about? Anecdotes…

MAFIA OMERTA

“Hello Fr. George: I had a doubt if excommunication of mafia is also extended to those co- cooperating directly or indirectly by running  illicit businesses like gambling dens and bootlegging. — With prayers [Priest friend from India]”

We’ll have to see the language, which I imagine will be quite filled with legalese. As it is, more than fifty prosecutors, bishops, United Nations representatives and victims of organized crime have just tried to come up with a new legal doctrine concerning “the question of excommunication for corruption and mafia association.” “New” is right.

The novelty in this is that Pope Francis is seriously thinking of moving forward on entirely handing the Church’s own judicial processes of imposing excommunication over to the State regarding the Mafia, so that the opinion of the State as to the guilt of someone in, say, racketeering (a conviction), is what effectively imposes and declares the excommunication. Or is there to be an “administrative process” in some Vatican “Pontifical Council for the Excommunication of the Mafia” whereby the poor fellow has his State conviction rubber stamped by some Vatican office worker? What a sick joke against both justice and mercy. This seems to be insanity, real evil, putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

mafia

The State is often the enemy of the Church in various countries. What do you do if you are a kind of Henry VIII and you have a troublesome cleric like John Fisher or a troublesome Chancellor like Thomas More? Just trump up charges of racketeering and the poor fellows will be not only be convicted by the State but also excommunicated by the Church based solely on that secular conviction. It’s no longer Saint John Fisher but damned John Fisher. It’s no longer Saint Thomas More but damned Thomas More. The Church would no longer has any voice in the public square with this kind of pressure for ecclesiastics to be sycophants of the State. The U.S. Department of State is having a celebration, along with so many governments in other countries.

But there are so many insurmountable problems that I doubt Pope Francis will be successful in moving forward with this kind of legislation for State sponsored Catholic excommunication, this delegation of investigation, prosecution, conviction and sentencing to the State. If he is successful, I can only imagine the immediate wholesale convictions of racketeering followed by death sentences for church leaders in countries that are terribly annoyed with the Catholic Church (and there are many which are just that violent). And what’s the Church to do if all those church leaders are also said to be excommunicated?

Some important personal anecdotes:

(1) For quite a long time I lived in the same house as the head legal liaison between the Italian Department of Defense (Ministero della difesa) and the Holy See. He approached me with the request that I agree that he might arrange an assignment for me as pastor in a parish in Southern Italy so that he might better deal with the Mafia in that region, my anti-Mafia activities apparently being known to some. I knew exactly where he was going in the conversation and got him to admit easily enough that his purpose was to go ahead and put listening devices in my confessional box so that they might have evidence to convict whatever mafia went to confession. The Mafia do go to confession, but not with the purpose of being forgiven, but so as to shut the priest up, for the priest would then feel obliged by the seal of confession even if he otherwise heard the information outside of confession as well. This liaison was quite blunt about this, quite open, even telling me the procedures they use to set this already well established policy into practice. This happens all the time. In these USA the FBI has done this numerous times in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. I asked him what would happen if I actually did my bit as a priest and did not give the mafia guy absolution, but told him to get his wife and kids and skip the country taking nothing with him so as to get out of the mafia altogether and then get absolution elsewhere. The response was that I would, of course, be shot right through the confessional screen. Of course. I declined. He was upset as he had revealed much about the level of respect Italy has for the Church (and me): none whatsoever.

(2) A good “friend”, one of the very top anti-Mafia investigators in Italy for DIA (Direzione Investigativa Antimafia) wanted me to spy for him on who else but the Cardinals who are resident in Rome. He was offering me all sorts of favors toward this end, even putting local law enforcement at my beck and call, regardless of how long I might take them away from their duties. The thing is, I did know very well and have been in the houses and various main offices and back offices and off to the side offices of many of the Cardinals. I declined. He was upset as he had revealed much about the level of respect Italy has for the Church (and me): None whatsoever.

(3) A bishop in southern Italy, a close friend with no fear in publicly and continuously denouncing the mafia in his diocese, was threatened with death numerous times to no effect. Finally the mafia, in this case the ‘Ndrangheta, got a hold of the Pontifical Family to pass along the message that if the bishop was not moved by the next morning he would certainly be found dead. He was moved to another diocese that very night. In other words, the church revealed that it will not back up the pastoral initiatives of those who stand up against the mafia, but will just do the expedient thing, showing what respect there is for actual courage: none whatsoever.

(4) A mafia priest, a pastor in a large parish in the western region of Rome, has constant contacts with the Pontifical Family, making personal visits. He’s got many of the big political mafia bosses in his parish. They are taken care of very well by the parish, favored members of the parish. What does that say? (I did try to do something about this at one time. Response? None whatsoever that I know about.)

(5) My own case worker (let’s call him J.J. for short) in the U.S. Department of State surely has everything to do with this legal conference of Pope Francis and is likely the instigator and provider of legal language for much of it. He has everything to do with the law, with the United Nations, with the Hague, with this kind of legal maneuvering by teams for or against individuals on an international level in such manner that international relations between countries are affected. I smell a rat in all this. There is a difference between the Holy See and the Vatican, a difference which, if not protected, will bring damage to Vatican City State fairly quickly. This conflation of prosecution of the Mafia by Church and State could well be a precedent. This effort has been going on for many years in many ways also by way of powerful ecclesiastical figures who bow down to those at the United Nations and other diplomatic / legal organs… Maybe the legalese will provide a way out of this conflation. Maybe not. We will see. What are the tangible benefits? None whatsoever that I can figure out. Everything can go wrong; nothing and no one is better off with this sort of action. Quite literally this would set up the Holy See / Vatican City State for extortion by the U.S. State Department, forcing what the DoS would call “policy” decisions, or assignments of bishops, or whatever. Not a good position to be in.

(6) A little test of all this before any promulgation of any decree by Pope Francis might well be in order. What I have in mind is to […].

(7)  I should mention the Archdiocese of Malta, where C.S. resides, and also the little town of Salem, New Hampshire, USA, where E.A., “thick as thieves” with C.S., is continuing to serve out his prison sentence…

Et cetera

2 Comments

Filed under Holy See, Mafia, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Excommunicating the Mafia – part 2 – Missionaries of Mercy to absolve?

You have heard that it was said that Pope Francis is intent on excommunicating the mafia, you know, more officially than did Pope John Paul II back in 1982. You can see how scared Marini was in back of him, surely thinking they were going to get shot on the spot. As it is, the mafia was killing priests, threatening the Cardinal of Palermo, executing judges, and doing all their horrible protection rackets, prostitution, drugs. At the time, at least in the Archdiocese of New York, it was forbidden to provide the sacraments or funerals to the mafia. Now, I don’t know. Perhaps it wasn’t “officially” done by JPII and Francis wants to make it more “official.” There are plenty of mafia priests around, especially in Italy, but elsewhere as well, certainly in these USA.

Maybe Pope Francis will make the excommunication something only the Holy See or Missionaries of Mercy can take away. We will see. I have some stories to tell along those lines which involve the Italian Military and the Holy See, with me right in the middle of the whole thing. Perhaps this is what inspired the brain-stormers, you know: “Let the Missionaries of Mercy be put on the spot.” Fine. Whatever.

It is imperative that a bit of thought goes into advice for those absolving such things. I would not recommend that any priest be allowed to do this. I recommend that the possibilities for absolution are made known at the same time as the excommunication, which is supposed to be medicinal, right?

Unless things have radically changed in Rome over the past number of years in regard to the mafia, I would guess that no one has a clue what the political maneuvering is really like. I will try to write more on this, also to Archbishop Fisichella (my boss in this matter) and Pope Francis.

Perhaps it might be thought that my little parish is out of the way and inconsequential in this matter, but, in fact, it is because it is perhaps the most remote place in these USA that the mafia is to be found in abundance, along with, unknown to each other, those in witness protection.

6 Comments

Filed under Confession, John Paul II, Mafia, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Jesus & triple-taps on a priest’s day off

sunset-

The magnificent sunset nearing home after a super happy day-off yesterday. About 95% of the day was spent with the sick and shut-ins in the twilight of their lives, many of them living in far-flung places, with Sassy the Subaru putting on hundreds of miles. I love a “day-off” like this, sooooooo happy to be a priest.

There are plenty of people, however, who have a bitter reaction to priests getting a “day-off”. They may wish to read Mark 6:31-32:

“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.'” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.”

That’s called a “day-off”. Jesus recommends it. Having said that, we move on to the next verse (Mark 6:33), because text without context is pretext. So, let’s see what a “day-off” is actually like:

“People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.”

Yep. That’s what happens. I love it. Jesus is so very good and kind. He directs all through his beloved flock, who say things like: “Did you hear that so and so is terribly sick today as well?” This is when the “breaking of the bread” means that the Eucharistic Host is broken to be smaller and smaller. They love that Jesus would come to them riding along with a donkey-priest. As Saint Augustine said: “Asinus es, sed Christum portas.” (You are a donkey, but you carry Christ.)

But then I had a few minutes to spare at the hermitage, so, sorry, but, of course, I just had to relax a little as well. A donkey has to be a donkey once in a while. Triple taps drawing from the holster, trying to draw, point and shoot all three within three seconds. I don’t have a timer, so I assume I’m slow, perhaps 2 1/2 seconds. That’s an eternity in combat. Any suggestions for a timer? Here’s a magazine’s worth, which means five draws with three shots each:

target 3 taps-

And another magazine with five more draws of three each:

target 3 taps

Real shooters would just laugh at that, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? And I’ll be the first to admit: this was fairly close range But for me it’s pretty good. It seems that the less aim is taken in favor of muscle-memory pointing, as it is said, the greater the accuracy and certainly the less anticipatory over-compensation for any muzzle-flip. Still, if there’s any risk of a bystander being hit, I’m thinking I would like to combine the point with the aim a little bit. Again, real shooters would just laugh at that, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? The best shot in the world humbly says that his ultra-perfect aim is nothing special, as anyone would be as good as him if they also threw out a million rounds. Um… I haven’t done that…

Anyway, I just have fun doing this. And it’s not like I wasn’t also answering the phone pretty much constantly. Three shots out, another call. Three shots out, another call. But it’s all good. Shepherds love to hear the bleating of the sheep. As it is, I also bleat quite a bit, and The Shepherd always hears my voice, and, at least sometimes, I hear His.

Oh, and, by the way, don’t think that guns and shooting wasn’t part of the conversation with all the sick and shut-ins that I visited with Jesus. You have to know that Western North Carolina is armed to the teeth. People can move seamlessly from talk of armed combat to the arms of spiritual combat without blinking. I am humbled to walk frequently among the saints of God.

By the way, I make my own targets with poster-board and 3/4 inch sticky dots, mapping out the dots at 4″ intervals so that there are 35 dots per poster-board. Once one board is mapped out, another can be marked on the edges using the same measurements. Easy. Only takes about two minutes for the whole thing. It’s a lot of shooting for one target. The problem is that the targets are not moving, and there is no mayhem. But I have a solution…

1 Comment

Filed under Guns, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

Follow-up on Father Gordon J MacRae’s health: great news.

GORDON MACRAE

Last week the post Fr MacRae’s request of Padre Pio: help! was published here and on Father Gordon J MacRae’s Facebook Page. That got 915 shares as of this writing, with quite a good number those people being pray-ers. This was a request for Padre Pio’s help. There is news. This morning during our usual hour-long telephone conversation, I asked Father Gordon if there was any news on the health front. Here are some notes of what he said:

  • My neck is substantially better.
  • I can use my right shoulder.
  • The pain is gone entirely. I can move my head more than I have been able to in the last number of years.
  • And the lump has receded enormously.
  • And we have not yet been moved.
  • Padre Pio came through. I thanked him last night for coming through.
  • Thank everyone for all the prayers. Their prayers are very efficacious.

So, there you have it. Now, I have another few requests:

  • Thank Padre Pio for coming through.
  • Continue to ask Padre Pio about the resolution of Father Gordon’s situation.
  • And please, please, say a wee prayer for each other, as I’m afraid that quite a number of you did up some extraordinary prayers and sacrifices for Father Gordon and need a bit of support from each other as well. Hail Mary…

Thank you all for showing Jesus’ goodness and kindness to Father Gordon.

15 Comments

Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Spiritual life, Vocations

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Requesting Martyrdom edition)

flores papist

Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

That’s today’s Gospel. Jesus is commanding us to ask for the grace of martyrdom, laying down one’s life for one’s friends, the greatest love, how He loved us. That’s the logic of that passage. Inescapable. Totally. This is what we are to ask of our Heavenly Father. I’m guessing that that request would make our dear Mother Mary most happy.

The flowers I put up for this post are in front of the statue of the Immaculate Conception at the rectory. They are yellow and white, the colors of the Holy See, a tad bit Papist of me. Yes. This really makes people angry. It makes Islamists upset. It makes ultra-traditional-ism-ists upset. It makes the filthy liberals upset.

It is most Catholic to support not only the idea of the office of Peter (which support, cut off from Peter himself as so many do, is a heresy for the reason that the Church is founded on Peter and not on a mere idea of an office), but it is also most Catholic to support Peter himself, his very person, which filthy liberals, ultra-traditional-ism-ists, Islamists, etc., are loathe to do. I take a lot of heat for supporting the very person of Pope Francis. And that’s just fine with me.

Just because one is supporting Peter himself doesn’t mean that one is supporting everything that Peter says. That would be absurd. Peter himself wouldn’t stand for it. I couldn’t care less if Peter bets on a certain horse for the Kentucky Derby. I’ll bet on my own horse, or actually not bet at all. But I will pay attention when the Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ speaks not just for himself but as the head of the Catholic Church, and not just to some group or another or as part of some dialogue (such as is the case with Amoris laetitia), but when he is speaking to the universal Church, to everyone, and as a teacher, not a mere participant in ongoing dialogue, and also, conjoined to this, when he speaks on a matter of faith or morals as found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (or in the natural law for that matter), especially when this is deciding a controverted point.

But not only. I will also pray and stand in solidarity with Peter to the point where I feel that it is true that he who insults Peter insults me. Indeed, he who insults Peter insults Jesus who established Peter as the Rock upon which the Church is built. He who insults Jesus insults me. Why? Because Jesus did the same for the likes of horrible, sinful me. Thank you, Jesus.

But Father George! You don’t understand! Pope Francis blah blah blah blah blah. Yes, I’m aware of that and about a million other things you haven’t even thought about. I know. And so I ask: “So? Does that mean I shouldn’t pray for him? That I shouldn’t be a good son of the Church? Does it mean I can’t do my best to be the best priest I can be, teaching the best I can, praying the best I can, encouraging the best I can? I stand with Peter. I’m Catholic. I’m a priest.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Amoris laetitia, Flores, Holy See, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood, Vocations

Many sacraments at once: doing it right in the age of Amoris laetitia

wedding

John was already baptized, so we brought him through the ceremony to bring him officially into the Church prepared by Reconciliation. He was then Confirmed, was Wedded, and received his first Holy Communion. I couldn’t but snap the picture above at the reception as it speaks of the colors of the flag of the Holy See. We went through the process with the Tribunal of the diocese of Charlotte and, in fact, a previous “marriage” of his bride-to-be was declared null from the beginning, leaving them free to marry. In preparing John for the big day there was no hiding truth or making excuses for the cross. Instead, the boast is in Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Both Bride and Groom cried about through the whole day, for joy. It was one of the best days of my own priesthood, very much feeling to be the father of the parish family.

If I might say this: To date, on the one hand, I have not met anyone who is interested in doing things the way our Lord commanded to also be interested in Amoris laetitia‘s ambiguity and rejection of the cross and of conversion. If one loves our Lord, one wants to keep His commandments. Period. It’s a matter of love, and love makes it possible.

On the other hand, I get the impression from anyone who is interested in rejecting the commandments that Amoris laetitia has only made them terribly bitter with the Church. What they really wanted was a steadfast hand up but let themselves be thrown down at the first opportunity by which it seemed they could sin and please God at the same time, finding out that that just isn’t the case; they feel terribly betrayed by those who should have helped them and instead gave them Amoris laetitia, and thus they let those dark emotions entrench them all the more into being alienated to the peripheries which they were mistakenly led to believe was ‘accompaniment.’

People are thirsting for the truth, that is, the Living Truth, Jesus, divine Son of the Immaculate Conception who loves us so very much.

Also, just to say, we’re getting ready to set a time when John will be able to give me some pointers about how to shoot my Glock the right way. :-)

2 Comments

Filed under Amoris laetitia, Marriage, Missionaries of Mercy

Fr MacRae’s request of Padre Pio: help!

Father Gordon J MacRae is not one to ask for prayers for himself, ever. But now, it’s different. He’s asking, with reason. For two reasons, actually. Continue reading

22 Comments

Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Prison, Vocations

Unslaughtering Slaughter slaughtering

blood on the porch

So, the other week I mentioned (though not by name) that Jackie Slaughter, 54, who is from across the mountain in Robbinsville, and who has, relatively recently, quite an (alleged) extensive and frightening history of murderous violence beginning five years ago, was down here in Andrews just across the way. He had walked in at a friend’s dwelling around midnight with all normality, but then started to get more and more agitated, like something came over him, like something was changing his demeanor. Could it be drugs that he had taken before he got there? Jackie then pretty much cut through the entire side of the neck of his friend Cody, as if to decapitate him. Cody was airlifted to Erlanger, and is O.K., quite miraculously, after multiple surgeries over multiple days. Jackie had left him for dead, bleeding out from a completely severed jugular vein, the deep cut also severing nerves, ran from the corner of his mouth to back of his spine. Slaughter’s alleged ongoing slaughter is allegedly continuing.

jackie slaughter

I’m only guessing, but it was just before all that happened that Jackie might well have been the one behind what seemed at the time to be an attempted home invasion of the rectory, which was itself just too weird. From the agonized sounds (like a possessed man), and from the location of the anguished moans, it seemed that he was trying, but failing, to lift up the cement statue of Mary on the front steps so as, in my imagination anyway, to throw it through the picture window. I tried to lift up the statue while writing this post, and it is difficult, but not impossible. He’s a big guy one would think that normally he could do this. It comes to mind that the statue is blessed and that’s why he couldn’t do it. The timeline on this would be that he had come to the rectory first, failed to do what he wanted to do, took off back home in the direction of Tatham Gap Road with which he is extremely familiar during the alleged commission of crimes, but was then stopped by law enforcement and cited for driving with a suspended licence. Now on foot, he made his way to his friends house just off the way to Tatham Gap Road. I can only imagine that his person was searched and that his car was no longer available to him. So, it seems that it wasn’t drugs that were affecting him at his friend’s house. And, if it was also him who was at the rectory acting like a man possessed, it wouldn’t have been drugs either, as they immediately wore off during the traffic stop and still weren’t affecting him while at the beginning of the visit with his friends.

If this was Slaughter also at the rectory, and that seems likely, actually, then I have to wonder if he is, in fact, possessed, Slaughter slaughtering others because he himself is being slaughtered by Satan. In saying that, I don’t mean to demonize him. No, no. In saying that, I’m attempting to UNdemonize him, so that any demon is a demon and he is who he is. I know that “the devil made me do it” thing is just a bit too easy, but I would love to have a chat with him to see what’s going down with him and maybe help him, unslaughtering Slaughter slaughtering, if a fallen angel is in fact bothering him. Of course, I realize that even if he is guilty of all the murder and kidnapping charges that have been leveled against him, that this need not have anything to do with the Evil One, as we can be so very evil all on our own. After all, by original sin and our own sin we have all crucified the Son of the Living God. Jesus didn’t die to redeem Satan. That was for us. None of us is, on our own, better than anyone else. We pray for each other.

Having said that, it also needs to be said that people are so fed up with him what with all the alleged incidents that in one way or the other seem to be associated with him that the editor of one of the papers quoted a local saying here in far Western North Carolina that “Some people just need killin’.” And that makes me wonder if he’ll get a fair trial in these parts. That’s a really very common saying. I can’t count the times I’ve heard it said. And it seems to have been used plenty of times for him. Now, just to say, the editor followed that citation immediately with a hope that in this case people will be a bit more charitable than to be vigilantes. I mentioned that charitable bit to someone, who instead just repeated that some people need killin’, and that if it was Slaughter who came to the rectory the other night just before that almost-decapitation, I would have done society a favor by killing him and that I was at fault for not doing this.

No. Jackie slaughter gets to have due process. It is due process that helps society. Innocent until proven guilty helps society. Otherwise things descend into mob reaction. We have way too much of that in some cities around these USA. And what happens then, ironically, is that law enforcement officers are assassinated. It’s lockstep. And anyway, I didn’t hear about the almost-decapitation until the next day. And I didn’t see who it was. And I don’t have a police scanner or use the police crime-mapping app. And I’m going to do everything I can in any incident to flee if possible, or deescalate if possible, and if I have to confront someone for my own defense or the defense of the innocent, I’m going to be thinking of the absolute minimum possible to stop the threat. Period. In this case, I just flicked on an outside floodlight.

Anyway, unless Jackie gets out on yet another incredible technicality (basically fictitious in the opinion of some law enforcement, with the D.A. blurting out that in the past he’s gotten away with first degree murder)… if he doesn’t get out on a technicality, he’ll be in prison for the next seven years, as they only charged him with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill, apparently a much less serious charge than attempted murder, which would carry a twenty year sentence. One way or the other, he most likely won’t be making his $50,000 bail, as a relative of his (who doesn’t like him) is the only bonded bondsman in the county. I’m worried for his fellow prisoners and for his jailers.

1 Comment

Filed under Exorcism, Missionaries of Mercy

Father Gordon: comedian. Just a little humor to lighten things up

Father Gordon: “Hey Father George, you’re the best priest I know in North Carolina.”

Father George: “Um… I’m the only priest you know in North Carolina.”

Father Gordon and Father George together: “Ha ha ha ha ha.”

4 Comments

Filed under Humor, Missionaries of Mercy

Orthodox Easter: Guns and Emmaus (scaring myself)

IMG_20170417_055953

Easter evening (for both East and West this year) was spent with some parishioners and a young Greek Orthodox couple. The Orthodox fellow (from Wisconsin but now in Georgia) is to be deployed any day now for a tour on the mountainous Iraqi-Syrian border. The father-in-law parishioner just retired out of law enforcement. They set up a half-dozen green post-it note targets some 23 meters out (the Mountain U.S. Army guy already speaking U.N.-speak).

We were practicing standing, using two hands, either hand singly, and then prone, with different pistols and an AR-15.

I did real well with the AR-15. That’s a totally new experience for me, moving from target to target quickly, with double hits on all but one with a single hit. They wanted me to then pepper the larger target as fast as I could go and I got most of them right on but that needs a bit of practice. No, I don’t own an AR-15!

I didn’t do so well with the single-handed pistol shooting. It’s good to get caught out in this way, so that you realize what you need to practice. The LEO also arranged a mag with a mix of spent cartridges so that I could see hidden problems, such as trying too hard. This works well. And I was trying too hard, as the gun popped an inch or so without a live bullet. It also forces you to work quickly to clear jams. The Army guy had a lot of good advice for the both of us. No matter how many years you’ve got in, more advice is always welcome.

Uh-oh: I scared myself a bit when I shot my own Glock 19 from a prone position. I’ve never tried to shoot laying down before. Aiming at a green post-it note with one AR-15 round through it from the Army guy, I quickly put four more rounds in a row through that one hit with my little pistol, so pretty much 10-X with all of them. I am reminded of this scene of the beginnings of recovery from amnesia:

But, no. I don’t think I’ve been suffering from amnesia. I mean, after all, I’m not great at one-handed whatever-hand shooting, good, but not great without practice (which I never really do in that way). So, therefore, no amnesia. I mean, I did do the 10-X multiple times in a row with one hand, if I remember, with a .45, last Autumn. But that had a smooth trigger pull, not like a Glock. No, no. No amnesia. Unless it’s like a mental block… ;¬)

Anyway: that was all after the breaking of bread together at the evening meal on a glorious Easter Sunday. The discussion at table was intensely religious as you might imagine with an American Greek-Orthodox soldier who has a Masters Degree in theological studies under his belt.

We spoke of the cultural differences (complementary) between East and West, the whole breathing with two lungs thing, the excommunications and the wiping out of the excommunications (leaving us with communion), the divine liturgy and the singing and being brought up into the Sacred Mysteries, Jesus fulfilling the prophesies in the Old Testament by being the acceptable sacrifice, His standing in our stead, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, our obligation in love to offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, the possibility of another major Ecumenical Council between East and West, and which theologians might be useful to this end…

You didn’t expect that, did you? If not, why not? You might offer a comment in the comments box… Pretend you’re sitting around the fire we had outside as night fell, all reminiscing. There was also some discussion of how it is that John the Baptist gave advice to soldiers about how to be the best of soldiers, and about the morality of self-defense on one’s own behalf or that of others: a positive contribution to the virtue of justice as opposed to the idiotic PTSD inducing lesser of two evils theory that would mean that no matter what you do you are always doing something evil (No!).

Is there a disconnect here? You know, between it being Easter Sunday evening and, you know, guns? No. And you have to know that the Army guy tested me on that, joking a little by wishing me a Happy Easter with all the target practice. Those who are on the front lines either here at home or overseas in some of the worst of the worst most violent hot-spots in the world have to know that we are in solidarity with our soldiers even as they are in solidarity with us. That’s an orthodox truth that the Orthodox appreciate.

3 Comments

Filed under Ecumenism, Guns, Humor, Military, Missionaries of Mercy

Fr Byers still under Pontifical interdict insisting FAITHBYTHESWORD is good

INTERDICT

I have begged through the years to be have relief from this interdict, at least from the sharpness of its cynicism and sarcasm, from the way it throws Mud-Bowls [a hint for interpretation], for it was known from the beginning that there is no possibility of circumstances under which I could possibly submit to ecclesial authority in this matter, that is, to wit, even though I no longer reside in said territory, for I continue to this day to be forbidden to even pass through, or say “Hey!” There is no mercy for this Missionary of Mercy, it being having mercy on those banished to the peripheries at said institution which has brought about my own being cast into the same existential, anguished darkness. The holy angels, I reckon, were never happy with such a result prepared by the highest tribunals in the Holy See (note the exaggerated ecclesiastical Latin of penal decrees ossified by centuries of rote application to like offenders against expected loyalties). I predict that said institution, which started to go down the tubes upon the imposition of the burden thrust upon me, will, should they remain intransigent, no longer be viable within three to four years of this writing. Mark my words.

mudbowl faith by the sword elijah

Although the given reason for the interdict seems serious enough, I’m guessing that the T-Shirt art produced in my honor for the event in question is thought to be politically incorrect in any number of ways. I respond that this over-reaction is symptomatic of our day. Instead of that reductionism, I firmly confess that the faith is spread by the sword as it was when Jesus’ Heart was pierced through (truly this was the Son of God), when Mary’s heart was pierced by sorrow (when our thoughts are laid bare), and this ever since the ferocious cherubim back in Genesis 3:24 brandished their fiery sword (for our conversion), since Elijah used his sword (for the edification of believers and the pedagogical punishment of non-believers), since Saint Michael used his (to show forth God’s glory), since our Lord told Peter not to use the sword in that most dire of circumstances (so that He Himself could have a sword plunged into His Heart).

I recommend that all seminarians get to know faith by the sword.

BTW: The interdict was actually written by the highest tribunals in Rome. How good and pleasant it is when brothers live in unity… Perhaps, as a punishment for my continued contentiousness, I will be sent back to this office in the Pontifical Family (after all, notice the donkey in the painting besides the one sitting at the desk):

Pontifical Family humor

1 Comment

Filed under Humor, Missionaries of Mercy, Vocations

MRSA Hepatitis Plague: it’s what we do.

[[ I would put a picture of one elderly person I anointed last night, but its all too horrific. ]]

Yesterday Sassy the Subaru had hundreds of more miles put on her going to far flung places for Communion calls and anointing. People I go to see in the mountains of WNC are often on their way out or are terribly sick. I am reminded of carrying around a plague victim in Calcutta (yes, plague).

Jesus watches all of this. A front row seat. He came with me in the Blessed Sacrament. He watched as I laid hands on the head of an elderly lady with a huge MRSA boil on her head (getting close to her eye), and then anointed her. Not the first time I did this for her. I’m thinking that Jesus is just fine with all that. This kind of thing makes you respect doctors and nurses who are continuously surrounded by injurious and deadly things.

I have to ask myself if I was the patient if I wouldn’t want a priest to provide sacraments and blessings? Yes, I would. I remember as a seminarian that one of my summers was to be spent in India volunteering for Mother Teresa’s home for the dying. The Rector told me to reconsider going because I might get sick. I told him someone has to do it, whether I meant volunteer or get sick or both I don’t remember. Pretty sure it was both as his comment made me pretty upset. I did call to mind even then that Jesus came among us to die, and on purpose, so, why not do this? I did pick up some awful things in India, and the Rector said upon my return: “I told you so.” At which point I said that I was O.K. with that and wouldn’t change a thing.

Anyway, I had no place to wash my hands last night after finishing with the MRSA patient and had to drive many hours before arriving home, at which point I used a bleach wipe thingy on my hands, but had meanwhile touched about every part of my face in those hours as people do. O well. I’ll have to bring the bleach wipes with me in the car for these frequent enough occasions. If it’s too late it’s too late. MRSA, a bacterial infection, does respond perhaps, maybe, to some very few antibiotics. I guess Hepatitis is, instead, a virus, though it sometimes just goes away on its own. So, whatever. You have to die of something, right? I would be happy to die from such things. It’s not like getting one’s head chopped off like Thomas More or those who are victims of ISIS, but, hey, I’m O.K. with it.

I’m such a martyr, such a drama-queen, right? But here’s the point: actually, I just don’t care about consequences. I’m so happy with doing what I do in carrying Jesus around these backsides of these back-mountains that I don’t care about what may come. I think it’s the most wonderful thing in the world not to care if only one can do what one needs to do in whatever situation until one can no longer do it. There is a certain freedom in this, a “NO FEAR” thing. I wish everyone was this way. Sure, our military and law enforcement and firemen and rescue squads all have “NO FEAR” and just do what they are going to do regardless of the consequences, if only they get a chance to serve. But there are other more numerous unsung heroes and, usually, heroines, not only home-health care nurses, but those relatives at home who care for those with all sorts of problems. I think we will be surprised at the gates of heaven about those who said they had “NO FEAR” but were frozen in fear, and those who said they were fearful or who said they had “NO FEAR” but in any case did what they had to do.

My putting myself among the “we” in the title to this post is, I guess, a bit fraudulent, as I visit here and there, even while others live in these situations day-in, day-out. But it is still a we, in my case, Jesus and myself. And actually, people couldn’t care less about me. They just want Jesus. As it should be. So, just Jesus. Jesus alone. Amen.

P.S. I mean, all I can take credit for is putting wounds on Jesus. Anything good is Him.

4 Comments

Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

On being a good son of the Church

Jesus crucified passion of the christ

Jesus not playing politics. Crux stat dum volvitur orbis.

Recently I published a post entitled Father Byers’ run for political office? In that post I tried to make a good argument for dabbling in politics as a priest, befuddling both left and right. Just smacking people down to make ourselves look better than “them” does not draw those in the peripheries to take note of the pastoral wisdom of the Church.

Did not Jesus redeem us all? Does He not want that we also be saved? Were we not all in the peripheries of left and right until we assented to allow ourselves to be drawn by Him to the Cross when He was lifted up to that great height? Can we do that if we pretend that we’ve never ever been on the peripheries, that He never had to forgive us, that we were always correct even as we crucified Him?

What does a good son of the Church say? He says “Jesus have mercy on me, a sinner.”

 

3 Comments

Filed under Missionaries of Mercy

Accompaniment: “When I am lifted up on the cross I will draw all to myself”

A priest-friend sent this in from a twitter account. So, we have an analogy: This is the image of the fall of a venial sin in which we are nevertheless still assenting to being dragged to heaven by our Lord (via Calvary and the Cross). A mortal sin would be to jump off altogether in contempt.

Saint Thomas Aquinas speaks of repentance from a mortal sin, whether one can, as it were, jump back on where one left off in the spiritual life. He answers that, yes, this is possible, depending on one’s contrition, one’s purpose of amendment, the grace of God’s charity to which one assents in order that this contrition is brought to fruition with the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity. It does, in grace, also depend on our generosity in following the grace being given. What would prohibit this assent would be presumption, lack of contrition, lack of firm purpose of amendment. But, all things being equal, as it were, yes, one can come back into God’s good friendship, whether a bit diminished, whether pretty much the same, whether far advanced. But NO presumption, with contrition and purpose of amendment being necessary.

Tangled webs can be woven. But tangled webs can be broken. Sometimes things are difficult.

Confession brings things back in good order. Sometimes we need the help of others, of the Church, of Jesus. Find a good confessor.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Amoris laetitia, Canon 915, Confession, Missionaries of Mercy